Banded Knifefish (Gymnotus carapo) 9-12 inch
A very widespread species in both Central and South America. It’s been recorded in Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Suriname, French Guiana, Trinidad and Tobago, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina.
Tends to inhabit sluggish or still waters and seems to prefer turbid environments. It’s also found in the deeper parts of main river channels, and in general can be considered a benthic (bottom dwelling) species.
Maximum Standard Length
Aquarium SizeTOP ↑
At least 72″ X 24″ X 24″ (180cm x 60cm x 60cm) – 680 litres, and preferably bigger.
Decor isn’t critical, although it does appreciate plenty of cover. Large stones and pieces of bogwood, twisted roots, and live plants all look good. It’s also much more active under dim conditions, so either use weak lighting or add a layer of floating plants to diffuse the light entering the tank.
Temperature: 72-82°F (22-28°C)
Feed live and frozen foods such as bloodworm, prawns, earthworms, tubifex etc. Dried foods are not usually accepted.
Behaviour and CompatibilityTOP ↑
Small fish will be eaten, but it can be combined with other similarly-sized species in a big enough tank. Don’t keep it with anything too boisterous or aggressive or it might become withdrawn. Possible tankmates include large, robust cichlids such as Cichla or Geophagussp., larger Characins, Cyprinids, catfish and Loricariids and other species such as bichirs. It’s very territorial with conspecifics, though, and a massive tank would be needed to keep more than a single specimen.
It’s not been bred in captivity, but some aspects of its breeding behaviour are known. It breeds during the wet season and is a paternal mouthbrooder with the male also building a nest, in which he broods and protects the eggs and fry.